Aviv is Hebrew for ”spring”, symbolizing renewal, and tel is a man-made mound accumulating layers of civilization built one over the other and symbolizing the ancient.
On 11 April 1909, 66 Jewish families gathered on a desolate sand dune to parcel out the land by lottery using seashells. This gathering is considered the official date of the establishment of Tel Aviv. The lottery was organised by Akiva Arie Weiss, president of the building society. Weiss collected 120 sea shells on the beach, half of them white and half of them grey. The members’ names were written on the white shells and the plot numbers on the grey shells.
According to a census conducted in 1922 by the British Mandate authorities, Tel Aviv had a population of 15,185 inhabitants, consisting of 15,065 Jews, 78 Muslims and 42 Christians.
Tel Aviv began to develop as a commercial center. In 1923, it was the first town to be wired to electricity in Palestine, followed by Jaffa later the same year.
When Israel declared independence on 14 May 1948, the population of Tel Aviv was over 200,000. Today, the population estimates 432,892 and it’s the second largest city of Israel.